While Europe tries to find ways to deal with the flood of refugees streaming across the continent, most of whom are fleeing violence in the Middle East, the United States is beginning to face the harsh realities of caring for arrivals in the hundreds of thousands.

Refugees are granted entry into the United States for humanitarian reasons, such as escaping from a war-ravaged homeland or a despotic government, in contrast with immigrants who come to the U.S. to find work and a better life for themselves and their families.

Given that refugees are not expected to be self-sufficient, the government takes on the responsibility of providing for the health, housing, general welfare and education of the newly arrived.

Now, a recent analysis has estimated the cost of resettling refugees from the Middle East in the U.S. finding that the government will pay $64,370 per person for the first five years in the U.S. That amount can add up to $257,481 per household.

That figure is be 12 times the cost of hosting a refugee in a neighboring country in the Middle East.

The United Nations has found that Syrian refugees can be cared for and resettled in a neighboring country for $1,057, with less disruption to the lifestyle of the refugee in terms of language, customs, religion.

Using the U.N. model, the $64,370 expended on refugees for resettlement in the United States could provide for 12 refugees could be helped over the same five-year period and 61 refugees could helped for five years in nearby countries.

The typical refugee from the Middle East relies heavily on government assistance with over 90 percent receiving food stamps and 68 percent receiving assistance through cash disbursements.


Nine major organizations and as many as 450 affiliates, many of which are faith-based and often managed by former refugees, assist with resettlement in the U.S. They are:

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Lutheran Immigrant Aid Society, International Rescue Committee, World Relief Corporation, Immigrant and Refugee Services of America, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Church World Service, Domestic and Foreign Missionary Service of the Episcopal Church of the USA and the Ethiopian Community Development Center.



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